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Letters to the Editor: Readers write on the closure of the La Cañada Valley Sun

From modest beginnings, the La Cañada Valley Sun has covered news, sports and the community for 74 years. Its final print edition publishes April 23, 2020. RIP.
(File Photo)

Since Ellen and I moved to town in 1994, we have been loyal Valley Sun readers. Whether I was up north or down south, my Thursday always started with the Sun, not the L.A. Times. When the paper developed its online presence I even began to check what was happening in town the night before as stories were being posted.

When our city became a city in 1976, the Valley Sun captured that election night on its front cover. Before the 210 Freeway opened, the Valley Sun photographed the party that was held on the newly paved freeway underneath where Memorial Park is today and again showcased it on the full page front cover photo. Through all of the Sport Chalet’s success and controversies and the local election cycles that corresponded to those ups and downs, the Valley Sun was the one constant.

Though I was disappointed when it changed its design several years ago and did away with its signature full front-page photo, I was grateful that it continued to publish and that it continued to positively showcase our community for long-timers and newcomers. There was something magical about a small town having a small town community paper, and the Valley Sun provided that magic for nearly 75 years.

There was a rocky time in the late 1990s when it shifted its focus away from Girl Scout Gold Awards, the Halloween Haunt and Fiesta Days and endeavored to find hard news to shake things up in our little hamlet, but even then it had the best interests of the community at heart.

After that episode, its publishers understood we didn’t need an investigative reporter, we needed a place to go to complement and escape from the hard news that filled the L.A. Times. Once again, the Valley Sun became the place we went for that escape.

Its longtime editor Carol Cormaci knew and loved our city and it showed. We were lucky to have this grand old paper in our lives, not just to read about our neighbors’ children, who married whom and to see the attendance at a local event, but to clip photos of our own children to send to our relatives around the country. Sooner or later just about every family had a reason to be in this wonderful local paper.

We will miss you, Valley Sun. Thank you for capturing our community’s history and sharing our story!

Anthony Portantino
State Senator
La Cañada Flintridge

***
When I try to explain what makes La Cañada different, I mention some of the usual suspects — the schools, the beauty, the people — but often the most compelling encapsulation of this remarkable community is its small-town newspaper, the Valley Sun.

Open the pages on any given week and you would find announcements about fundraisers, student performances and other achievements, letters from concerned citizens, articles about new policies at the public schools — a weekly reminder of our investment in one another’s lives.

When I was a little kid, I felt like I had the whole world at my back when I saw my class photos printed in the paper alongside a story about our schools. When I was still just a teenager I felt my voice had a place, had a platform, when I wrote letters to the editor on these pages that eventually became a campaign for school board.

And when I served on that school board, it was a Valley Sun reporter — often the only visitor left in the room, late into the evening, after seven hours of meetings — who was chronicling every vote, every amendment, every debate.

The stories weren’t always the “big” stories you’d find on the front page of the L.A. Times, but that was part of what made them great and important. No matter the size of the story, these pages were often the only place you would find them. And it helped remind us that a story isn’t just big because it impacts a lot of lives — it’s also big because it deepens our understanding of the connections our lives have to one another.

In this way the Valley Sun didn’t just reflect something great about La Cañada, it was something great about La Cañada. I am so grateful for everyone who made it what it was. I will miss it a lot.

Andrew Blumenfeld
Los Angeles

***
The La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce was in its 34th year when the Valley Sun first opened its doors in LCF. Since its opening in 1946 the newspaper and the LCF Chamber have experienced many major events and developments in our community: the expansion of JPL, the opening of La Cañada High School and the formation of the school district, a massive residential development that began in 1962, the development of Descanso Gardens into a real L.A. County facility, the extension of the 2 Freeway from Los Angeles to Foothill Boulevard, the opening of the 210 Freeway through LCF, the long-awaited opening of the LCF Town Center, the final vote that killed the 710 tunnel plan and so much more.

In all of this there were countless news stories of Sagebrush, ribbon cuttings, mixers, Fiesta Days, Festival in Lights and many other Chamber events. In all of this we have been partners, friends and promoters of our community’s good will.

Our 74-year relationship will never be forgotten, and the Valley Sun will always be remembered! Journalism consists of producing headlines against deadlines, and as your final deadline draws to a close, the Chamber wishes the best to everyone on the Valley Sun staff as each of you consider your next opportunity.

Pat Anderson
President and CEO
LCF Chamber of Commerce

***

I am a resident on Normanton Drive in La Cañada Flintridge. I always enjoyed reading the informative and well-written news about our neighborhood and city from the Valley Sun.

The outstanding value of the paper has been well recognized in the community for all these years.

In addition, recently, some of us who live in the Normanton Drive neighborhood worked closely with reporter Sara Cardine for some issues of our concerns and interests:

1) a second-floor addition in our neighborhood; and

2) the rescue of a local fawn which was injured and handicapped by an illegal Conibear trap.

In each case, Sara documented the stories excellently, accurately including our input and opinions. These showed remarkable exhibitions of good journalism characteristic of an excellent newspaper.

We view the closure action of the Valley Sun as an unforeseen impact of the coronavirus crisis currently ongoing in the country as well as the world. The resulted economic setback is temporary and we believe it will recover down the road. We hope the Valley Sun will resume operation when the recovery is established and the economy in the city and county is robust again.

Thanks and congratulations for all the good work achieved in the past and looking forward to the bright future.

Lien C. Yang
La Cañada Flintridge

***

To the editor and reporters of the Valley Sun. Thank you for all your years of reporting the news of our community. You will be missed.

Janice Croft
La Cañada Flintridge

***

The La Cañada Valley Sun has been a part of my life for many years. Way back in the early 1950s when I was home for summer break from the University of Arizona, I shared an interesting and fun job with several others.

We were the staff that gathered and readied the paper for distribution on Thursday mornings. Faye Pike, Bea Nourse, my mother, Ruth Busch, and I waited for a call on Wednesday night to come to work as soon as the paper had arrived from the printers. We were in the old Valley Sun building (on the 800 block of Foothill Boulevard), usually around midnight and sometimes later. Faye worked the old addressograph machine and the other three of us gathered the pages. A young man would come to pick up and deliver the papers after we finished our work.

During my high school years, several of my classmates and I were on the cover of an issue. I do not remember the occasion, but we felt honored. My daughter, Jennifer Loftfield Hronek, was also on the cover of an issue when she was in high school. She was on the Fiesta Days Court (now Miss LCF) with Paige Peterson Seymour (Queen), Helen Micka Mann, Karen Neilson and Kathleen Delling-Eiselt.

In the mid-1970s, I worked as the bookkeeper at the Valley Sun for several years. It was a job, but it was fun to be involved in and aware of local news and happenings. This was the time when La Cañada Flintridge was incorporated. There was a lot going on with the election for incorporation and then with people campaigning for city council, etc.

I have many good memories of Bill Watson’s and John Torrey’s cover pictures, and of my colleagues at the paper: Joe DuPlain, Shop Manager Spence Schuh, Don Mazen, Maggie Graff, Dagmar Wood, Norma Sousa, Pat Ryburn, Barbara Strawn, Jane Napier Neely, Marla Pichel, student photographer Bill Kniering, Sharon Mueller and others.

For the short times I lived away from La Cañada, the Valley Sun was a great way to keep up with my friends and acquaintances. The La Cañada Valley Sun was a true asset to the town of La Cañada, and later to La Cañada Flintridge.

Anne Busch Hills
La Cañada

***
The closure of the paper is such painful news for all La Cañadans near and far who grew up with the Valley Sun, who cherished the milestone announcements of major events that made us who we are.

The support of our schools and the sports teams that shaped exceptional scholars and players who went on to bigger and better things, and for my Thomas/Millikan/DeGrey family: Uncle Brad on the LCUSD school board, stories about my grandmother’s development of the “Bababerry” raspberry hybrid, the Les Tupper Awards, the Rose floats, Aunt Shirley DeGrey’s column and my father’s 90th birthday party in 2011. And you were there for so many of those occasions.

Thank you for your professionalism and your dedication to keeping the spirit and intelligence of our special little community alive. This is a hard reality to accept. Our family archives hold many clippings that recall precious memories.

Blessings to you and the staff in the days and weeks ahead and as you put your beloved publication to bed for the last time. An era has ended, but the La Cañada spirit lives on!

Erin Thomas
Riverside


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